Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Aug. 20


 

Team of the Month

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

(Posted 3:30 p.m., April 11)
Local team wins Rogers Hometown Hockey contest
By Fred Sherwin
OrleansOnline.ca

When the Cumberland Dukes Atom A hockey team started the season, their coach, Kirk Als, handed them each a link to a chain and told them that if they joined their links together they would form an unbreakable bond that would last the entire season.

They also adopted a motto – “17 links, 17 brothers” – which they turned into a cheer. When Als would yell at them, “17 links!”, they would yell back “17 brothers!”

Members of the Cumberland Dukes Atom A hockey team visited City Hall during the lead up to the Roges Hometown Hockey reveal. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“I’ve been coaching for 10 years and I’ve never come across such an awesome team-building concept,” says Als. “We joined our links together to make a chain I explained to them that the chain is only as good as its weakest link and together we will succeed or together we will fail.”

The concept carried the team to their House League championship and a prize that they will cherish forever.

Prior to start of the playoffs, Als was surfing hockey websites on his computer when he came across the Rogers Hometown Hockey site which encouraged minor hockey teams to send in a 30-second video showing why they should move forward to the cheer contest.

In the video the Dukes put together, the players explained the concept of the chain and how it made them become a stronger unit and want to play together as a team of brothers.

The video must have impressed the right people, because the Dukes were chosen, along with a peewee team from Leitrim, to perform their hometown cheer during the Hometown Hockey stopover in Ottawa on March 19.

They ended up winning the contest, which put them in the finals along with 23 other teams from across Canada. At that point it came down to the online voting.

The Dukes got support from Cumberland Ward Coun. Stephen Blais, Mayor Jim Watson and every friend, relative, co-worker and even complete strangers to cast their ballot on line.

The winner was announced during the final Hometown Hockey telecast on Sunday.

About 60 people, including all the players and their parents had already gathered at Als’ house for their year-end party, when they turned on the Sportsnet broadcast at 5 p.m. They patiently watched the TV until finally, at 5:50 p.m., the show’s hosts Ron McLean and Tara Sloan announced that the Dukes had won the Canada-wide contest.

“The place just broke out in pandemon-ium,” says Als. “They were cheers and tears. I think the parents were more excited than the players.”
The team won’t find out exactly what they won for a few more weeks, but they will receive their prize before the end of the playoffs.

“The team that won last year was flown from Newfoundland to the Air Canada Centre for a game, and they received all new equipment. The total value of the prize was about $50,000,” says Als. “Who nows what we’re going to get we’ll have to wait and see.”

Until then, there will be a few more sleepless nights.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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